Day 2 of the New Legends Stage gave us reasons to both laugh and cry as a set of interesting games and standout moments set up a mouth-watering set of games of the third round. This is how it all went down:
A best-of-one on Vertigo is probably not how you want to settle whether you’re going 0-2 or not at a major, but as AVANGAR opted to remove Mirage in the final ban, and their choice seemed vindicated after they picked up a 5-0 lead on the T side. However, the Aussies managed to bounce back and bring the game back to a one-round deficit, suggesting they had a decent chance going forward. However, jks and co. only managed to pick up two out of the first eight rounds on the T side, which meant that even though they achieved parity from then on, it wasn’t enough to save themselves from the lower bracket.
DreamEaters couldn’t quite keep up the streak of upsets they’ve delivered in the New Challengers Stage as they were completely outclassed by Natus Vincere on Overpass. Only picking up six rounds on the offense wasn’t particularly promising, and it was a statement performance by Na’Vi in the second half as they only gave up one round on their own T side.
It’s rapidly becoming clear that this makeshift contingent of Ninjas can’t hold a candle to the rest of the field and it once again showed in their defeat to CR4ZY on Train. Only Lekr0 posted a positive K/D for the Swedes – and f0rest once again finished on the bottom of the server – in a series where they failed to post enough rounds on the CT side of the map and then couldn’t break their opponents’ defenses in the second half. For what it’s worth, it was an inspired individual performance by EspiranTo, but the Lithuanian’s heroics don’t change the fact that NiP may very well find themselves back in the minors after making it out of the wilderness last September.
Both teams made a decent run all the way from the Europe minor, only to make a meal of if in the opening round of the New Legends Stage. The question was which would get to bounce back in time to avoid an elimination match tomorrow, and it seemed like a straightforward win for karrigan’s men at first as they picked up ten rounds on the T side of Inferno despite losing the pistol round, roaring to a 14-6 lead, only to fade away as the game went on. In the end, North managed to close the gap to just two rounds but chrisJ dashed their hopes with an absolutely breathtaking ace to settle the score.
Not many would have expected CeRq and co. to upset Liquid, let alone with such a heavy scoreline, as the world #1 failed to convert their pistol win on the CT round and went on to lose eight in a row from then on. Though the individual heroics of EliGE helped his side back to a potentially manageable 6-9 half, they couldn’t reliably break NRG’s defenses, ultimately losing 9-16 despite winning (and failing to convert) both pistol rounds in a game which scrambled everyone’s perception of the tournament and the potential playoff bracket.
Despite the promising early signs from the star-studded side, it was a straightforward affair for the Frenchmen here as they won ten rounds in a row on the CT side of Dust 2, finishing the half with a 13-2 lead. Though FaZe managed to bounce back after losing the pistol round soon thereafter – and did have a few noteworthy individual highlights in the game –, they couldn’t mount a comeback as ZywOo and NBK- once again took apart their opposition.
The Finns took out the diminished Brazilian side in a straightforward game on Inferno, exposing their predictable failings on the map. After taking nine rounds on the T side, they bounced back from the loss of the first two and never looked back from then on, closing the game out 16-8. Most notably, Aleksib finished the game with 24 kills and 11 deaths, which bodes well for his future prospects.
Despite the one-sided scoreline, this game was much closer than it seemed on Nuke, the Danes’ old hunting ground, in a sluggish but effective performance very much in line with how Astralis often perform in group stages of big events. Of course, the only thing we’ll remember from this game a week from now is that last round:
Props to ocelote for this fantastic meme and being such a good sport about it:
(Photo credit: HLTV)